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With more dating sites catering to over 50s than ever before, it’s not surprising that one in five relationships in the UK now start online. They are often a go-to for those who are divorced, widowed or just simply in need of some companionship. However, putting yourself out there can sometimes feel daunting. If you're thinking about giving online dating a go, but not sure where to start, here's how to find the right site for you, plus our top 10 dating site recommendations for over 50s.
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"My husband is 10 years younger than me and we met online. I think online dating is becoming increasingly common as stereotypes fade."
The stigmas surrounding online dating, particularly for older daters, are continually being knocked down thanks to the wealth of dating sites dedicated to this age group. While your first reaction might be, "I really don't think online dating is for me," (and that's perfectly okay), approaching it with an open mind could be the way to go. There are, however, some important things to consider before signing up.
"You would need to find a dating site that you feel confident with and investigate their safeguards against the unscrupulous, including scams."
To figure out which dating site is best for you, take some time to browse a few and get a feel for how they work, what age groups they tend to attract and what they offer. While some popular sites attract a variety of ages, or have specific sections for different age groups, there are also sites that cater specifically to over 50s.
It's also very important that you trust the site you intend to use, so it's good to do some research beforehand. Getting recommendations from friends and family is a great way to start your search.
"Shop around and look for a site that fits your needs."
Different dating sites offer different experiences, such as romance, friendship or just someone to have some fun with. Considering what you’re looking for can help you narrow down the sites on offer and find the right one for you.
It also helps to know what type of person you’re looking for and how much time you're willing to invest, as some sites offer a basic dating profile and leave you to do the choosing, whereas others have comprehensive questionnaires and algorithms which pair you with potential dates.
"It can pay to pay. Anyone can join most dating sites for free, but if someone takes the time and trouble to pay for a better service it may be an indicator that they are serious about what they want."
Although the majority of dating sites are free to join, you usually need to pay for a subscription if you want to start contacting people. Once you have created your profile, the website will lay out their subscription rates on-site for you to assess before subscribing. Many gransnetters are under the impression that it pays to pay, but that’s for you to decide.
"Consider making new friends via the internet. There are many lonely people out there. You have so much to give so live your life to the full."
If you take these steps into consideration, you should be able to whittle down your list so that you're left with only the most suitable sites. If you still can't decide, 'trial and error' seems to be a popular motto among gransnetters. So, which sites are the best for over 50s?
Find companionship helps you make connections in your local area, whether it be for companionship or love. It's completely free to join, and you will be able to create a profile and start messaging immediately. However, if you would like to reply to messages, you will need to upgrade your account. As a premium member, you will additionally be able to show more aspects of your personality and have access to a personal dating diary.
Age range: Suitable for a variety of ages, but predominantly for over 50s.
"Try Saga - it's very respectable."
This dating site finds friendship and romance for over 50s, using a unique two-way matching system to help find the perfect match for you. It's free to create a profile and have a browse, but, when you want to get the ball rolling with your first message, will need to buy a subscription.
Age range: Exclusively for those over the age of 50.
"I met the love of my life through Guardian Soulmates. It was unlike me to have been so bold, but I am always glad I did."
"Two close friends met through the Guardian Soulmates and are one of the happiest couples I know."
Guardian Soulmates has helped thousands of users find companionship, and continues to do so with their easy to use and successful dating site. It's free to join, and you can immediately start browsing users. However, when you feel ready to to send your first message, you will need to sign up for a premium account.
Age range: Most members are between the ages of 25 and 55.
Top tip: If you don't want your profile to appear on the Guardian website, make sure to tick 'opt-out' when signing up.
"I met my second husband on Match when I was 55, having been divorced for almost 20 years. I was lucky as my husband was only the third man I met in person from the dating site."
As one of the pioneers of online dating, Match is a service which has helped users find love around the globe. They offer a detailed dating profile, as well as the opportunity to play online games with other users and attend exciting singles events. It's free to create an account, but to send and receive messages you will need to become a paying subscriber. With some memberships you gain additional features such as being able to send more messages and receiving event discounts.
Age range: It varies, but the site has a large number of members over 50.
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The more mature version of Plenty of Fish. They have a wide selection of 'ponds' for you to choose from, including 'Christian', 'Single Parent', 'Cuddly', 'Divorced' and even 'Naughty' ponds...but we recommend you opt for the 'Silver' pond for over 40s dating. It's free to register, but if you want to read and reply to messages you will need to upgrade.
Age range: Suitable for a variety of ages, with a specific section dedicated to older members.
The ethos of eHarmony is that the basis of a good relationship is compatibility. It is highly rated and ideal for those who want a serious relationship. When signing up, you will be asked to complete a lengthy questionnaire, which they claim will determine a user's personality and work to help match them with their ideal date. However, if you're looking to sign up without a fuss, this isn't for you. It's subscribe only, with standard and premium memberships on offer. Premium offers additional features such as being a featured match for 24 hours every month.
Age range: Not restrictive, but the site has sections specifically for those over 50.
Ideal for those who wish to find romance or friendship. The brainchild of The Telegraph newspaper, this dating site aims to match users with like-minded individuals. Again, free to create a profile, but when it's time to get chatting you will need to subscribe.
You can also opt for a premium membership which is an extra £10 per month. With this, everyone you message can reply for free.
Age range: Mostly over 40s.
A unique site that allows children to recommend their single parents (usually over 50) for dates. It was set up by Matt Connolly whose mother, then in her 60s, encouraged him to help her find a partner.
Price: Free to join, but you must purchase either a 1, 3 or 6 month subscription starting at £12.99 in order to send and receive messages.
Age range: Mainly used by single parents over 50.
What you need to know: Your profile will be set up by someone else, i.e. your son or daughter, but you'll receive a message letting you know that this has been done. You can also opt to delete your profile at any time if the site isn't for you.
"On a whim I joined Yours Dating and have met a caring, affectionate and understanding person. We have known each other for six months and it's working out really well. On paper our interests are very different so don't dismiss anyone because of this. It's a good idea to meet for coffee first."
This site aims to match those who find themselves single in later life. The Yours Dating team have also created Yours Dating After Loss for individuals who have lost a partner or spouse. Both are free to join and browse members on, but if you decide you want to send someone a message you will need to purchase a subscription.
Age range: Specifically for those in later life.
Tailored specifically to suit those over 50, this site is particularly useful as it offers advice for people in a variety of situations, whether you're widowed, divorced or a single parent. The website is extremely easy to use and, according to their website, 99% of users who talk on their site meet offline and have a great date. Subscription prices are as follows.
Please be aware that the three-day trial will automatically convert to a monthly membership package unless you cancel the renewal.
Age range: Specifically for over 50s (over 40s minimum).